TAC PRO For The PS4 Review
|Product Name:||HORI Tactical Assault Commander Pro (TAC Pro) KeyPad and Mouse Controller|
|Features:||LED-backlit mechanical keypad and gaming-grade mouse. Key and sensitivity settings can be saved to user profiles and adjusted with Windows application. Special features such as Snipe Button, Quick Button, ADS Lock, and more. Ergonomic and comfortable with adjustable palm rest.|
Earlier in the year I wrote about the natural feel of FPS gaming through a keyboard and mouse and how it gives the player a more intuitive and responsive feel when going up against the online console worlds of PSN and XBox Live. And while there may be some ethical questions that may occur from these, we cannot deny that there is a market of gamers who prefer this kind of control setup and are willing to invest in what can even out the playing field for them.
And while there are many different products out in the market that leverage this kind of control setup, it is not surprising that none of these are licensed by the console developers until now. In what seems to have come as a controversial move, Sony has officially licensed a keyboard and mouse combo product, which could ultimately change the way we play and feel about FPS or Action Games. It is time we look at the TAC Pro for the PS4.
You may have seen Hori release a similar product in the past in the form of the Hori Tactical Assault Commander 4, which also runs on the same PS consoles. The concept may be the same, but the differences that can be found in both the 4 and the TAC Pro make sure that the similarities end there. Gone is the blocky, chopped-up keyboard containing the typical FPS-style buttons layout in favor of the cooler, more ergonomic mechanical keypad. I personally think this was a good move, as the contours of the keypad provide orthopedic support for the wrist and palm, preventing the dreaded carpal tunnel syndrome.
This product is not complete without the mouse, of course. This little bugger is also streamlined with the same black finish with red lights on the sides that you can find in the keypad. It is definitely the lower-profile piece of this puzzle, but still packs quite the punch which we will get into later. I also want to give attention to the very cool TAC logo positioned at the bottom of both devices, which gives the product a more “big-game” feel.
Sooo… wires? I thought everything is wireless these days? What gives?
It truly does sound a bit strange to have a product like this to still retain the wires, but it does make sense. As with fighting games, the realm of FPS relies on fast reactions, and even faster triggers. A wireless setup may sound more convenient in terms of placement, but you still run the risk of longer travel and response times, as well as larger chances of interference (yeah, not fun having someone block your screen and delay your quick-scopes now, isn’t it?) And having a consistent line of signal transmitted from device to controller is crucial for making these actions execute immediately – something that you can find in the wired connections.
Still interested? Let’s look at each part of this product.
A Keypad With Multiple Uses
So why does the change of peripheral from a minimized WSAD to a fully-functional gaming keypad become so compelling? Is it enough to merit this product an emphatic notch above the Commander? Here are a couple of things that factor in:
Does it have something to do with saving space on your gaming setup? There is definitely a lot of merit to this. A full keyboard with highly-responsive buttons have complemented a high-DPI gaming mouse for years and has already been the norm for FPS gaming. The tricky part is keeping the setup as mobile and convenient as possible with less tangles and clutter as possible. I remember the last setup I had for FPS gaming (this was on a PC at the time), I had to lug around and conveniently position a full-sized, type-friendly keyboard with a mouse all connected to a 15-inch screen – not the easiest thing to do with a 21.5-inch square table (come to think of it, I have no idea how it all fit!).
Aside from the occasional typing for in-game chat, a player’s finger positioning is situated on the far left side of the keyboard where the game controls reside. In-game voice chat is a lot more accepted these days with low-latency voice clients providing quicker responses, so we could really get away with a half keyboard, or in this more elegant case, the gaming keypad.
Is is because of its aesthetic? While a bit shrewd a thought, I honestly can see this as a valid reason. Being a fan of the realm of sci-fi and futuristic, I’ve always been enamored when they show a ship’s one-handed controls from an armchair that manage the user’s quick commands such as flight maneuvering, ship status reports and of course, weapon control.
I think that stuck to me for the mere reason that the form was always very sleek looking, with buttons fully accessible how ever the user’s fingers are flexed. That combined with its sleek form gives a gaming keypad that futuristic, hi-tech feel that a fan from those related genres could look forward to.
Could it be due to the amount of remapping and customization that can be had with the gaming keypad? This I think is the true point. The TAC Pro’s gaming pad pretty much contains all the parts of a full PS4 controller – movement can be controlled by the middle “WSAD” keys or the thumbstick located on the lower right side of the device. The Options and Share buttons are available by a simple flex of the pinky and index fingers respectively, with the PS Home button situated on the top left for quick access to the Home menu. There’s even space at the top for the touchpad, which serves any purpose that you need it for.
I’m equally impressed that they even included the L3 and R3 buttons, which the ring and index fingers can silde down to from their immediate positions. I’m a fan of quickly getting into crouch and prone positions in-game as well as the quick melee, but I personally feel weird about having to press down on either stick to execute those controls while moving or looking.. these commands feels right, though. Even better is that all the buttons on the keypad are fully programmable in different profiles to suit other users or games, and this can be done on the TAC’s display or through your computer.
Putting these all together does give the keypad a full-on Big Game or Pro feel, so it definitely sounds mighty compelling!
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This Is Quite a-Mouse-ing
Rounding out this little pairing is an equally-sleek HID-compliant gaming mouse. This little guy definitely holds it own to make this little kit even more appealing.
The sensor under the mouse boasts of up to 3200 DPI (dots-per-inch) which gives it a smoother run on any surface while being able to tilt and turn to provide quick response in-game. As with other gaming mice, it also includes side buttons for the thumb. This pretty much represents the right side of a controller (which n FPS and action games represent aiming and shooting).
It is interesting that this product came with a mouse that is branded by HORI instead of leaving it fully vacant for any mouse that the player wants to use (and admittedly, there are a ton of really good gaming mice out there, especially from the Razer brand). But it is also interesting to note that this gaming mouse was designed to work extensively better with the gaming keypad especially with some nifty settings that can quickly adjusts the mouse for any in-game situation. And as with the keypad, the mouse’s keys are fully programmable as well.
Some Nice Little Touches Here and There
Still reading along? Great!
There are a couple of nifty little things that the TAC Pro added in that definitely help transition the keyboard-and-mouse gaming feel to the console.
As mentioned earlier, the TAC Pro includes a couple of quick settings that automatically set things such as mouse sensitivity, movement and lack thereof (dead zones). On the keypad itself are three buttons that have a unique handle to these settings:
- Snipe, simply put, is well-suited for situations where the player goes in-scope for the more precise headshot. In this mode, the sensitivities are lowered to help aim better.
- Looking for fast aims and turning when things turn frenetic? Simply click on Quick to bring the same sensitivities up and get your movement faster.
- When situations call for the slow and stealthy, there is a need to keep things at snail’s pace and timing, which is provided by the Walk mode.
By pressing on any of these buttons, the product quickly shifts control settings to match what you need, so you can worry a bit less about how your current settings adjusts to any situation when these modes take care of it (and rightly so as the mouse starts to feel less like an analog stick and more of, well, a mouse).
Perhaps an additional touch that tends to be overlooked lies within the TAC Pro’s ergonometrics. Smooth contours match the curvature in the palm of your hands, allowing less strain on your wrists. The keypad itself has an adjustable rest at the bottom to suit any gamer’s hand and forearm to prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from literally cramping your style. And when your hands are comfortable with your controls, all your focus goes to keeping your player kill streak alive.
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Final Thoughts – Is This The End of Console FPS?
As you have read, the TAC Pro definitely has a lot of features that make FPS gaming on the console transition into something that feels more like PC gaming. Little control assists here and there, along with convenient control mapping really go along way.
The issue now, though, lies in the ethical side of things – FPS on a console can be considered a science, where players rely on muscle memory to remember precision of movement and firing that even things like analog stick extenders, trigger assists or controller augmentation do chip in a little help. And there are people who get pretty good at it for sure! So when you have someone playing on a different setup, a setup that feels more intuitive where the familiarity on the control setting removes all the nuances that you get from playing on a controller, does that give an unfair advantage? Are you expected to be an absolute beast if this happens?
My thought: It’s helpful, but it won’t turn you into a superstar overnight.
As with any game in the competitive realm, you still need to put in the work. Professional gamers spend countless hours perfecting their craft regardless of what peripheral they use. No way does a price tag on an intricate device replace all of that! There is surely going to be some leverage if the device helps you here and there, but things like experience and overall familiarity of the game are still factors that will keep you in competitive (and in some cases, dominant).
Like I mentioned in the past, “Wala sa porma ang lakas” (You don’t get strong by looking good). Products like these should help you attune your in-game skills better instead of being a crutch to what makes you better. So if you are already on the path towards being familiar with the console-style of action gaming, then you should be all set.
If you are looking to let your PC-style FPS translate to the PS3 or PS4, then a product like the HORI Tactical Assault Comander Pro is definitely a great product for you. The USD 150 retail price for the keypad AND mouse is a pretty good deal despite other more expensive gaming mice alone, so it is definitely worth a look.
Have any thoughts on this product? Let me know in the comments!
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